The Yellow Rose (Bowl) of Texas
Even though they haven’t played each other in a bowl game in nearly 33 years, there is a semblance of a rivalry with Ohio State and USC. National titles have been won and lost when these two teams have met in the past, and those losses still sting plenty of Buckeye fans.
The two teams have met in the Rose Bowl seven times previously, but now that stage has headed east a bit, and here OSU and USC sit in Dallas ready to rumble in the Cotton Bowl.
It’s still old school, just in a new place setting.
“I have never been to the Rose Bowl. That’s the one bowl game I’ve never been to,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “So hopefully get there some day. But this is a great bowl game. Traditionally it’s been — I was here in 1987 when Ohio State played Texas A&M. And then we were here for the College Football Playoff championship a couple years ago. The great thing about this is you’re going to see the Pac-12 champion against Big Ten champion on a great venue. And that’s why college football is so strong right now.”
On the Defensive
When these two teams do finally take the field against each other on Friday, there will be a number of areas of concern for both head coaches.
As an offensive coach, USC head coach Clay Helton immediately looks to the Ohio State defense.
“I look at it defensively, and the number of opportunities you get are few because they’re able to get off the field, only giving up about 290 yards a game, 19 points,” he said.
But it’s not just the execution of the defense that catches his eye, it’s the depth.
“The depth is what stands out to you, especially on the defensive front,” he said. “To be able to have a guy coming off the bench basically as a pass rusher in [Nick] Bosa and leading your team in sacks is beyond impressive.”
In preparation for an opponent, Urban Meyer will spend most of his time looking at the opposing defense. As an offensive guy, however, he is always going to sneak a good, long peak at the opposing quarterback as well.
The quarterback manning the controls for USC is Sam Darnold, and he could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.
What does Meyer see when he watches Darnold?
“I see a streaky player, and I say that with a lot of respect,” he said. “Once he gets on, that’s the job of the defense to not let him get on. The best pass defense is a pass rush. But I see a winner. I see a young man that’s going to go down as one of the winningest quarterbacks in USC history and a guy that’s got a great release, great size, and enough athleticism to make you pay if you’re not secure in all the gaps. So excellent football player.
The Tenth Man
In order to get some helping watching the opposition’s offense, the Buckeyes could be adding another defensive assistant in January. The NCAA has permitted a tenth assistant, and there have been plenty of rumors out there that Urban Meyer has already zeroed in on Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who is from Ohio.
Asked about the position on Thursday, Meyer did not have any updates on the addition, but did have an update on any subtraction.
“Not really. There’s been some conversation. There’s nothing been finalized,” he said. “Like most college coaches, we’re trying to figure out how this is going to work. And I just want to do right by Ohio State. And we usually have transition. I think we’re going to escape that this year.
“But I’m like most other coaches that right now are just trying to put that the puzzle together and do the very best for our university and our program. So I’ve got some ideas, but there’s nothing been finalized. And we’ll certainly wait until after the bowl game.”